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Eric Fischl: 1970-2007 by Arthur C. Danto

Eric Fischl: 1970-2007

by Arthur C. Danto

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This publication is an expanded edition of "Eric Fischl 1970-2000". In the opening essay Arthur C Danto helps us see the artist in context from his student days in the 1970s, when painting was almost an anathema, through his early work and to his notorious painting, "Sleepwalker", which brought him to the public's attention, and to his mature paintings. Selected paintings are discussed in more detail mainly with reference to their content and meaning. The discussion covers forty years of the artist's work and is supported with many quotes by the artist. The second very short essay by Robert Enright further discusses Fischl's work with specific reference to the artist's aims.

The bulk of the book "Fischl on Fischl" comprises examples of the artist's work accompanied by his comments taken from an interview with Robert Enright conducted in 2000 and 2007. The comments sometimes relate specifically to the painting alongside which they appear, but often are more general.

Finally there is a short and witty personal commentary on the painting "Barbeque" by collector of Fischl's work, the actor Steve Martin. The book concludes with a Biography; Exhibition History and a list of Collectors. There is no general index, and no index to the paintings illustrated in the book.

The book is illustrated almost entirely in colour throughout and contains over 250 examples of Fischl's work from his early efforts through to his mature work. The main section "Fischl on Fischl", pp 31 to 338, contains the bulk of these, with picture on virtually every page; most approach full page in size (allowing for margins), but a few are reproduced unnecessarily quite small. While most of the work consists of paintings in oils there are also some drawings, water colours and a few bronzes. Fischl's work is figurative in both senses, and often provocatively sexual in nature, but irresistibly appealing with his free approach and strong sense of light and shade.

This is certainly a very fine volume. I would like to have had more about Fischl's practical approach to his work, although it is very good to have his own thoughts on several paintings and what he was aiming for; and given the often large scale if his canvases it would have been informative to have had a few examples of close-up detail, I also found Danto's frequent references to himself distracting; but these are minor criticisms, although the omission of an index to the paintings is rather more irritating. However it is superbly illustrated with an abundance of Fischl's output; and well worth it for that alone ~ highly recommended. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
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"This volume is an examination of the contemporary figurative painter Eric Fischl. More than 250 works, selected in conjunction with the artist, present the scope of Fischl's career: the formative work of the 1970s, including the controversial Sleepwalker and Bad Boy; and the mature work, often of a personal and contemplative nature, of the 1990s and 2000s."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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